Of all the impressive local breweries who’ve opened their doors in the past couple years, none of them impress me more than Four Winds in Delta. I’m not alone on this. It’s not just that their beers are great, it’s that they’re great AND they’re unusual. Four Winds consistently takes on difficult styles and continues to have great success at each, including a couple different brettanomyces-infused beers now.
Enter their Brett IPA called Juxtapose, which has been on the market for a few weeks now. Not a huge IPA at 6.5% ABV and 50 IBU but driven well into the category. Bottle conditioned as well, which is always a bonus when it comes to the feel of the beer. Plus, of course, the addition of brettanomyces, a family of yeast strains that add sourness to a beer through its production of acetic acid.
I’ve had a good number of brett IPA’s at this point, including Mikkeller’s Green Gold and Farmhouse IPA. My general feeling on the style is that it’s unique, interesting but I’d rather have a saison-brett. Just seems the saison base suits the style better, and there are incredible examples such as Dulcis Succubus with a great oak character as well. The tough thing about the IPA is that the base beer is best fresh, but brettanomyces can work wonders given time.
I don’t mean to suck up to local breweries but Four Winds has thrown a wrench into my whole assumption by producing the most satisfying brett-IPA I’ve had to date. It’s a perfect example of how brettanomyces can service an IPA: subtly. The nose is full of bright citrus with sweet grapefruit leading the charge plus some honey, and the brett character is ever-so-gently on the back end of things. Taking a sip is a mixture of pink grapefruit sweetness, light pine, and a nice modest acetic finish. It finishes with a clean acidity completely devoid of that “funk” character that wouldn’t suit the bright character of this beer anyway.
In the end, this beer drinks mostly just as a sweet citrus IPA that stops short of what most would consider a “double IPA” but absolutely does not lack in flavour. The brett only surfaces to put a little bit of an acidic touch on things and otherwise does not get in the way – exactly what I want in this style of beer. I’m all for pucker-fest beers, but this was exactly what I wanted this particular beer to be.